The first lady, Melania Trump, and the president’s close adviser Hope Hicks were also infected, as was Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, who was last with Mr. Trump a week ago, on Sept. 25. But the rest of Mr. Trump’s family tested negative, as did Mr. Pence, Mr. Meadows, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other senior officials who are regularly in proximity to the president.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the president’s Democratic challenger who was on a debate stage with Mr. Trump on Tuesday, tested negative on Friday. Mr. Biden said he sent his prayers for a speedy recovery while also implicitly faulting the president for a casual and even reckless approach to the virus.
“This is not a matter of politics,” Mr. Biden said at a gathering in Grand Rapids, Mich., while wearing a mask. “It is a bracing reminder for all of us that we must take this virus seriously. It is not going away. We must all do our part to be responsible. That means following the science, listening to experts.”
Mr. Trump by his own admission has played down the severity of the virus, repeatedly declaring that it would vanish on its own, pressuring schools, businesses and sports leagues to reopen, disputing the warnings of his own public health experts and questioning the effectiveness of face masks. He defied health guidelines by hosting campaign rallies and other events crowded with supporters who mostly did not wear masks or maintain social distance. Only hours before his own positive test, Mr. Trump insisted in a speech that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”
No one could say for sure when the president was infected, but attention quickly focused on his ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House last Saturday announcing his nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, an event where many officials and guests mingled without masks and without keeping distance.
Several guests and reporters who were present or traveled with the president on Air Force One later that evening tested positive on Friday, including Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, both Republicans; the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the president of University of Notre Dame; and Michael D. Shear, a White House correspondent for The New York Times. Judge Barrett previously recovered from the coronavirus.
Mr. Trump is the latest world leader to become infected. Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain was so sick that he had to be hospitalized before later recovering. Prince Charles likewise contracted the virus, as have the leaders of Brazil, Honduras, Guatemala and Bolivia. But Mr. Trump has repeatedly brushed off concerns about his health, telling advisers that the coronavirus is a roll of the dice.